This is the first post in our Social Media Series which will cover the do's and don'ts and in's and out's of various social media platforms. As a job seeker we hope this will help you optimize your search. For career coaches, we hope that these resources are helpful as you work with your clients.
Before putting your name out on the job market, it is imperative that you first re-evaluate the way that you are using Facebook and the ways in which you are presenting yourself to the world. More and more companies today use Facebook and other social networking sites to conduct background checks on potential hires. Do you want your future employer to read the following?
If either of these examples looks at all like your current Facebook status, keep reading.
Step 1: Clean it up. Guidelines for neatening up your Facebook profile before moving forward in the career transition process:
- Make sure you are not speaking poorly about your previous employer; whether or not it is justified, it reflects poorly on you.
- Your status updates should be positive, but honest. Something like “Phone interview tomorrow!” is perfectly acceptable, but make sure not to include names of companies, organizations or individuals. And don’t make things up to make yourself look better.
- Let your friends know what’s going on and ask them to please refrain from posting something negative about you on your Facebook. Don’t ask them to praise you, but ask them to leave the inside jokes off your wall, at least for now. And warn them that if they write something negative that you are going to delete it.
- Which leads to the next guideline: monitor your presence. This holds true for any form of social media. Make sure you keep an eye on what is going on and edit as necessary.
- Delete any incriminating photos. Enough said.
- Grammar & Mechanics: Make sure that everything is spelt correctly, you have checked for punctuation and your phrasing is correct.
- Set your privacy settings: Make sure you set your privacy setting to friends only. You may not want to make your Facebook profile public to everyone.
Overall: Make sure your entire Facebook Profile is presented in a way that you would be comfortable having your potential new employer view.
Step 2: Maximize your Facebook profile. Guidelines for using Facebook to brand yourself for future employment opportunities.
- Include all of your most recent and relevant job experience in the “Info” section with specific, but succinct descriptions of your responsibilities and accomplishments.
- Choose a profile photo of you at your best. And I don’t mean your social best, but rather your professional best. An active photo, one of you speaking with a client or giving a presentation, would be ideal, if you have one. If not, include a clear, close-up photo of you dressed appropriately.
- Make sure your most recent employment is the one you add to your list last. This will be the one that shows up right next to your name and photo on your profile, so it is the one that potential employers will see first.
- If you know more than one language, add it! Facebook now gives you the option of adding languages to your profile, and they show up right under your employment on the top of your page. This can be a good selling point, so if you speak another language, speak up!
Overall: 90% of what is on your Facebook should be helping to showcase your strengths, skills and experience relevant to your current job search. A mere 10% is allotted for wall posts from friends and select photos.
The Honest Truth: If you’re thinking that you have no idea how you’re going to make the switch, you need to delete yourself. You can do this in 2 ways: delete your profile all together, or revise your account, making your privacy settings as tight as they can be so that potential employers can’t find you. Social media is becoming an increasingly influential part of the job search as well as recruiting processes. It is important that you realize this and “Facebook” accordingly.
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Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.